WAY back in the day when I first learned what it was to be a professional teacher, the concept of inquiry wasn't even on the map. In those days, all learning was originated with the teacher, directed by the teacher, and evaluated by the teacher. So, my understanding of inquiry comes pretty lately, and I have to admit that I haven't done any formal reading or learning about it.
My sense is that inquiry is meaningful, self-directed learning in which the teacher plays the role of facilitator & guide. I'm thinking that it must be inherently differentiated and constructivistic (sp?) because much of the process originates and develops from within the learner. (Does this tie in with Leslie's comments about comprehension? I'm thinking that a learner won't be ready to engage/question something that they don't really grasp.)
That's my hunch anyway. I look forward to learning more about what inquiry really means. And something tells me we will engage in some inquiry as we go along!
This, too, is how I understand inquiry, Kelly. The teacher ceases to be the font of knowledge, but guides students to learn how to ask good questions that satisfy their individual curiosities about given or self-selected topics. I am all over your definition that includes constructivist and differentiated. If it is teacher (or librarian) directed, it us usually neither of those methodologies. Not only can librarians guide the inquiry, but we can help students stoke and satisfy the curiosity by helping them ask good questions and connecting them with sources both published (on and off-line) and human. Also, I think that inquiry is about more than just the satisfying of curiosities, but is equally about the process take to get there.
1. questions trigger our curiosity --> self-directed to find the answer --> cognitive process of information and build the own knowledge/ find out the answer
2. teachers --> facilitators --> help/ guide students to go through all the steps and processes
4. not just a cognitive learning process, include the affective domain like sharing with other pupils for evaluating the products
5. Questions --> How to define a good inquiry? I was a teacher so I graded students according to their 'end-products' and what about the inquiry learning? How could the teacher judge the process? Students can make up the whole learning process or just use 2/3 sentences to tell the teacher to process so as to finish the process writing as quick as possible... How will the teacher give the grade?
Why I asked this question because I need to perseude/ sell teachers Inquiry Learning.
Ah you hit a chord with me on recognizing the process as something to evaluate. Getting at kid's thinking is key. With inquiry comes the idea that the teacher pay attention to the learner and their thought process - what are they constructing along the way. We aren't just looking at right and wrong answers but what is the thinking, how is this learner processing information. I appreciate your post - got me thinking :).
Student-generated questions, social/collaborative research and exploration of meaningful questions. Teacher/librarian as facilitator/coach. Authentic experimentation and investigation that results in creation of new understandings and knowledge or products. Students taking responsibility for their own learning and assessment of learning. Those are my first thoughts....
1. The first is a negotiation of meaning between the reader and the text which is transformative and, therefore, authentic. Louise Rosenblatt (whose writing is terribly dense) but her thinking has guided our collaborating English/Language Arts teachers through much of this century has argued that reading is a transaction from which meaning emerges. "'A novel or poem or play remains merely inkspots on paper until a reader transforms them into a set of meaningful symbols' (Rosenblatt 1938, p. 25)...both the reader and the text itself are changed" (p. 15).
2. The second has to do with a shift in power in the classroom. This is not always assumed to be part of the "coaching/guide-on-the-side" role but, in fact, it is essential to inquiry. Democratic classrooms where "...power is shared when children have active roles in developing and engaging in curriculum. In these rooms, children negotiate topics for inquiry, and learning experiences are determined according to their needs and interests." (p. 18.)
How we respond to ideas that don't fit "accepted" interpretations or where we want the discussion to go (content) and how we run our circles (process) are decisions that make-or-break inquiry classrooms.
I remember a discussion I was having with Patricia Carmichael, a wonderful teacher librarian from Australia, a couple of summers ago at the IASL conference in Berkeley, CA. Several of us were puzzling over learning and libraries, and she came up with the idea of the "innate why" - the "why" that kids come to school with, but is too soon gone, when we take away their question marks and replace them with bubbles on a test. Stephanie Harvey (one of the authors of our book) has written several articles about nonfiction and inquiry for Language Arts and other journals - and I recall her statement that by the time kids get to the end of elementary years, school to them is about their answers, not their questions.
When I explain inquiry to my undergraduate students, I diagram it in a circle. It begins with a question and "ends" with a new question (beginning again.) And should be based on self directed interests. Reminds me of the I-Search process, which I enjoyed doing, and teaching as well.
Never thought of CHASING VERMEER that way, but you're right. It's one of so many middle-grade books in which kids use the inquiry process (with a heavy emphasis on prior knowledge!) to solve a problem. Kids love books where the kids can solve something that adults cannot (or in which kids outfox adults). MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER, the Sammy Keyes books, Carl Hiassen's books for kids ... so many models to draw from!
Mansfield University Scholarship Program – Begin in January 2012
In an ongoing effort to recruit a new generation of school library leaders, Mansfield University recently received a fifth Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) grant to fund scholarships for its totally online School Library & Information Technologies Master of Education degree program with school library certification. If you know of an educator or non-certified librarian seeking school library certification, please pass along the news that we are still accepting applications for the spring 2012 semester.
The Master of Education program, ideally suited for working educators
with no time to drive to a university, offers a convenient and effective path to school library certification. For detailed information and contacts please refer to the Fulfilling the Promise homepage, at http://libweb.mansfield.edu/promise/, or contact Cynthia Keller, Department Chair email@example.com